Dec 21

Catching up with our 2020 Accolades winners

Posted: 14 December 2021

Due to the challenges of the pandemic, and attention being focused on delivering safe and effective care and support, we took the decision to pause our Accolades awards this year.

Instead, we launched our first ever Accolades awards magazine to keep the spirit of the awards alive. We caught up with our 2020 winners to find out how they’ve been working through the pandemic, and to share ideas and best practice.

As we reach the end of the year, find out more about what our recent Accolades winners have been doing over the past year and how they’ve been managing the impact of the pandemic.

Future Directions CIC

Future Directions CIC were recognised in our Accolades awards for their innovative and effective approach to recruitment. 

Being creative and adaptable has been important to Future Directions in managing the pandemic and their recruitment. They introduced virtual interviews and fast-tracked their onboarding process for new staff to two-days, making sure to still pack in as much valuable learning in this shorter time period.

They’ve also looked outside of the social care sector and brought in many staff who are new to care, from other sectors such as recruitment, where many people have been made redundant.

For Future Directions, values-based recruitment has always been key to their hiring process – and it works, with very low turnover rates. The organisation is keen to recruit from the local community and advertise roles locally on notice boards and door-to-door. They also run a refer-a-friend scheme.

They’re also about to trial a recruitment policy developed by Timpson and based on the Mr Men and Little Miss characters. The Mr Men and Little Miss characters have been renamed to fit the Future Directions values, and the goal is to match recruits to the personality traits of the characters which fit their values.

Manor Community

Manor Community were an Accolades winner thanks to their strong approach to leadership and management, which has been vital through the pandemic.

At the start of the pandemic, all management teams completed a 12-week training course on resilience, to allow them to effectively support their team.

They told us that their organisation’s tight-knit culture, and a dedication to strong internal communications, learning and reflection, has helped bolster support for team members and keep staff turnover low throughout the pandemic. They also highlighted the importance of having an open and honest culture in supporting staff to be able to discuss concerns and challenges through the pandemic.

Carly Smith, Registered Community Care Manager at Manor Community, said:

“We found that because of our company culture, staff were able to openly discuss concerns, both personal and professional, allowing management to rapidly find solutions.”

Lewisham Nexus

Rooted in the local community, Lewisham Nexus puts the people they support at the heart of everything they do. Nexus’ motto is ‘nothing about me without me’, and everything is designed to empower the people they support, to take control of their lives and be more independent.

The organisation also has a focus on recruiting people with a learning disability into their care team. Currently 8% of their staff are people with a learning disability and the company has a long-term mission to increase that number.

People with a learning disability are included at every stage of the recruitment process to ensure they’re hiring people with the right values.

Recruiting locally is also important, with 67% of their team being local to Lewisham. The organisation has a low turnover rate of less than 5% and is very proud that 80% of their staff have been with them for over five years.

Supporting staff during the pandemic was key, and this involved providing virtual opportunities to connect, as well as practical support including a supermarket voucher. All temporary staff were also moved onto full-time contracts to provide stability at this time.

Community Integrated Care

The COVID-19 pandemic has seen Community Integrated Care support its colleagues in a range of new and innovative ways, ensuring their employees have felt rewarded and valued for the work they’ve done in the most challenging of times.

This has included the creation of a suite of wellbeing initiatives, enhanced recognition schemes, and the launch of a sector wide campaign, ‘Unfair to care’, which is lobbying the government for better pay and conditions in social care.

The organisation also introduced an emergency pay response, which offered an enhanced hourly pay rate for several months throughout 2020 as well as improved sick pay for anyone impacted by COVID-19.

They also took measures to show their gratitude to staff, including delivering treat boxes to staff and sending thank you letters to staff’s children for supporting them during this time.

The organisation which is proud to speak out about support for social care, was also featured in BBC Panorama’s programme The Forgotten Frontline which followed the team as they managed the impact of the pandemic and continued to deliver vital support among these challenges.


Find out more about our Accolades winners and read their stories in full in our Accolades magazine.

See more reflections from the past year with our #2021Highlights.